Hinako happily returns home from school one day to find her apartment empty and a note from her mother indicating that she won’t be home until tomorrow night because of a business trip. As a result, Hinako packs her stuff, shows up at Sana’s apartment, and immediately throws him out so that she can change out of her school uniform. Sana barges back in when he realizes that this isn’t normal, but he sees Hinako still in the middle of changing, so he runs back out. It seems that Hinako is running away from home, though she doesn’t tell Sana why. The two soon start arguing over her staying with him, and Sana manages to trip on a magazine and fall right on top of her. Of course, Aoi happens to come by the apartment right at this moment and panics when she sees them in this position. Once things get straightened out and Hinako explains that she left a note at home, Aoi is okay with her staying with Sana.
After Aoi leaves, Hinako starts studying and makes Sana study too. He quickly gets stuck on a math problem, so Hinako comes over and discovers that even she can solve it. Later that night, Hinako goes out to buy some ingredients so that she can make curry again, much to Sana’s dismay. The color of the curry is normal this time, however the taste is still really bad, and so the two of them end up going out to eat after all. When they get back, Hinako heads into the bathroom to take a bath, giving Sana a chance to look around her stuff for some contact information. He finds it in a booklet in her uniform and tries calling her home, but he gets the answering machine. In looking at her student ID, Sana realizes that today is Hinako’s birthday, so he secretly calls up Aoi to plan something for later. For the time being though, Sana and Hinako prepare to sleep, and Hinako takes his bed while Sana sleeps on the floor. Despite this, once the lights go out, she wants him to get into the same bed with her, in the place of a stuffed animal.
Hinako reveals that she has a stuffed animal that she got from her father and that she always sleeps with. It was too large to bring here, and she originally felt that she’d be okay since she’s not a kid anymore, but she realizes now that she can’t sleep without it. That’s why she needs Sana now, though she asks him not to tell anyone about this. The next day, Sana takes Hinako out under the pretense that he wants her help buying a present for a girl, and he sets up a coincidental meeting with Shuusuke at the department store. Shuusuke chips in half for the cartoon chick clock that Hinako had her eye on but that Sana had thought was too expensive. The three of them then spend the rest of the day going to the movies and hanging out. By the time they return to Sana’s apartment in the evening, the preparations by Aoi, Shuri, and Nanaka are complete, and they surprise Hinako with a birthday party. The party is a lot of fun, though Hinako knows that she has to eventually go home, and she thanks everyone. Sana walks her home afterwards, and before they part ways, Hinako surprises Sana by kissing him on the cheek.
This was a cute Hinako episode, but it didn’t really have much to contribute to the main story. I was hoping that there was a bit more to her character (maybe a secret or something related to the clocks in the OP), but there’s nothing to suggest that she’s anything more than just a girl who’s neglected by her parents and needs some friends. That made this a pretty standalone episode, so it could have just as easily gone somewhere else in schedule, and I still don’t understand why they decided to put it between last episode and next. Maybe they just wanted a light-hearted, fluff episode between two more serious ones. Fortunately, based on the preview, next week looks to get us back on track with the old lady Kajii and some background on Shuri and Shuusuke.